Plants & Yoga: A 21 Day Challenge

#plantfueledyoga
#plantfueledyoga

 

Plants and yoga are quite similar if you think about it. They both help with breathe, have calming effects, and are used for spirituality and medicinal purposes. When you nurture either, you get growth and blossoming. Incorporating either into your life, you feel life around you.

Am I stretching the comparison a bit? Maybe, but I ask that you see the amazing benefits of both over the next 21 days. Starting April 1st, my soul sister Sarah and I will kick off a #plantfueledyoga challenge that introduces plant based nutritional facts, myths and recipes, pairing each with a complementing Yoga pose.

The Who’s Who of The #plantfueledyoga Challenge
Sarah and I came up with the idea during one of our soul connecting get-togethers. We both have much love for plants, yoga, and all things that awaken and ignite our passions. Our three-pronged approach to eating the way we do touches on the environmental impact, health impact as well as the compassion element. Eating plants = better environment, better health, & no one gets hurt. It’s all very hippy and wonderful.
For the past few weeks, we’ve been getting together on Wednesdays for an in-home Yoga session. An hour of pure bliss, spent together, on our mats. The only thing that beats that pure heavenly hour is the bi-weekly cooking session that follows. Every other week, we’ll alternate who cooks a delicious plant-based meal for our Yogi hunger (our boys join us for the meal as well!). So, after one of our sessions, we hatched up the idea for the #plantfueledyoga Challenge. And here we are! Won’t you join us!?

Details, details, details!
Our 21 day challenge will be broken into seven targeted areas, with three days dedicated to each area. One day, we’ll delve into the top 5 plant-based foods that aide your body in this area, we’ll then explain a myth around plant-based living and lastly, give you a recipe to put your plants where your mouth is! Each day will have a yoga pose or series to coincide with the nutritional piece of the day.

Don’t be confused, it’s simple! Here’s the breakdown of the first 3 days:

Protein & Strength
For the first three days of our challenge, we’ll focus on plant-based protein and yoga poses that make ya feel strong! Fueling your body with the right nutrients will help you thrive, give you the energy you need to concur anything, and of course pack you with the Yogi strength. Here’s a sneak peak of the first 3 days of our challenge….

Day 1:
Top 5 Plant Based sources for Protein
Daily Yoga Challenge: Warrior Series

Day 2:
Biggest Myth around Plant-Based sources of Protein
Daily Yoga Challenge: Boat Pose Sequence

Day 3:
Plant-Based Recipe packed with Protein
Daily Yoga Challenge: Plank Series

Sarah and I couldn’t be more excited to kick off this fun, challenging, educational, compassion-filled plant-loving, Yoga doing challenge! If you’re looking to incorporate more meatless, veggie-filled meals into your routine, join in! If you’re looking for motivation to make a change, create a good habit, fold-in a healthy lifestyle, come on!

Follow us on Instagram for awesome nutritional tips, recipes and of course poses:

@clawrencester 

@sarahjhensley

 

The challenge kicks off April 1st – turn over a green leaf with us and join the #plantfueledyoga Challenge.

Day 3 of the #ckyogachallenge

Happy Tuesday & welcome to Day 3 & our last day of Balancing poses for the #ckyogachallenge! Which one’s been your favorite? Don’t worry, we kick off Day 4 with Core (rhyming is fun!)

Today’s pose is one of the most beautiful, elegant, and challenging balancing poses in my humble opinion. When done correctly, this pose takes strength, stamina, flexibility and of course, balance.

My girl Katie will give a beautifully described run-down of this pose over on her Mamaste Yoga page, so go check her out.

For the nutritional nugget for Day 3 of the Balancing portion of this challenge, I’m listing a number of balancing tips for your internal goings on.

  1. Balancing your PH levels can be done through a diet of leafy greens, essential vitamins, and low glycemic fruits. PH levels are important for digestive health, skin wellness and if your levels are off, inflammation can occur. Vitamins B-12, B-6 and folic acid can help maintain your PH, along with eating alkalizing foods.
  2. Balance your digestive track first thing in the morning by consuming two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (raw). In the raw form, apple cider vinegar gives you a quick energy boost, gets your digestive track going, and is an alkalizing agent.
  3. Balance the absorption of calcium with magnesium. Without magnesium, calcium isn’t fully utilized.
  4. Balancing recovery of your body from a nutritional perspective is often missed. You need to replenish the essential nutrients, protein, and vitamins you lose when you sweat and workout. Electrolytes, sodium, water, to name a few.

Happy Balancing!

Balance: Day 2 of the #ckyogachallenge

Today is Day 2 of the #ckyogachallenge and the theme is Balance. Such an important area to shed focus on, both in your physical life and your nutritional life. Keeping a well-balanced physical life will not only help you atheistically, but will help strengthen your bones, release endorphins (happy chemicals!), increase your flexibility, help decrease your risk of diseases (heart disease, dementia, hypertension, type II diabetes just to name a few). The benefits list goes on and on! That being said, pairing balancing exercises with flexibility/strength exercises is just as important. Stretching after a long run, alternating which muscles you’ll work one day verse the next, holding yoga poses to work on stamina.

Today’s pose, Half Moon & Revolved Half Moon, takes balancing to the next level. Not only are we focused on lifting our legs in this pose, we’re raising our arm and opening ourselves. It’s quite the balancing act between balance & flexibility. Check out my Instagram account for my Philly Half-MOon. Head on over to Mamaste Yoga’s page for a great explanation of this pose; she’ll give a step by step on how to properly balance here.

Eat more Greens! My Bryn & Dane Green Smoothie
Eat more Greens! My Bryn & Dane Green Smoothie

Nutritionally speaking, balance is essential in your diet. I’m going to focus on the balance of animal verse plant and how limiting the latter and increasing the former helps balance more than your health. It’s no secret I’ve given up eating land animals and while I would never try to convince anyone to follow in my footsteps, I do like to point out the amazing benefits of adding more plants to your diet and in turn, decreasing animal consumption. Again, it’s a balancing act that has far greater benefits than people may realize at first. What are those benefits, you ask!? Well, let me just name a few:

  1. Hard to stomach: Animal protein is tough to digest and can reek havoc on your internal organs. From hypertension to clogged arteries
  2. Meat & Cancer: The high fat content of meat increases hormone production, increasing the risk of hormone-related cancer
  3. Leaves you feeling sluggish: Animal protein takes a massive amount of energy to break down, thus your body feels drained, bloated, just sluggish.
  4. Huge Carbon footprint: While this doesn’t have anything per-se to do with nutrition, the environmental impacts of meat production are massive. Meat production produces more emissions than all other modes of transportation combined.

And I won’t even discuss the cruel conditions the for-consumption-animals are kept in. Promise, I’m not preaching!

Strictly health-wise, adding the veggies, legumes, fruit, nuts, seeds in place of the meat can make huge improvements. Since it’s Meatless Monday I thought I’d bring some balance to your table and tip the scales in favor of the plants. So, here are three recipes (breakfast, lunch & dinner) to nosh on that incorporate the plants, not the meat.

 

Avocado, Sunflower & Pumpkin seed Toast

Raw sunflower seeds
Raw pumpkin seeds
1 Avocado
Whole wheat/gluten free bread

Toast a piece or two of your favorite bread (avoid the processed, enriched white flour breads)

Half an avocado & spread on your toast – top with raw sunflower & pumpkin seeds
Happy Breakfast!

 

Lemon Hummus Salad Bowl

2 organic carrots, shredded
½ cucumber, sliced
4 radish
1 cup of spinach, kale, or dark leafy greens

Hummus
1 can of Garbanzo beans
2 cloves of garlic
Juice from 1 lemon

Combine all in a food processor or blender.

Put greens in a bowl, top with carrots, cucumber, radish & hummus and enjoy! You can serve with pita chips or rice cakes for added crunch.

 

Brown Rice & Black Bean Tacos with cilantro & lime Guacamole

1 can vegetarian black beans

Brown rice (cooked as directed)

Package of corn tortillas

Bunch of cilantro

Lime wedges

2 large avocados

¼ red onion, diced

Chopped organic tomatoes (depending on the season, canned may be better)

Shredded lettuce or spinach to garnish

 

Guacamole

Scoop both avocados into a large bowl
Add diced onions, juice from 2-3 lime wedges
Mix

Drain the can of beans, then heat on the stove – add cilantro to taste
Cook rice as directed

Assemble tacos with beans, rice then top with guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce/spinach & guacamole. Enjoy!